The three layers of the startup hierarchy of problems are: Customers, Time and Team.

“First you get the customers, then you make the time, then you build the team.”

The 3 Big Challenges starting out and turning a new idea into a going concern based are arguably Customers, Time and Team. You can think of these challenges as a layer cake or problems where you need to solve each one before moving to the layer above and getting to high growth mode. Starting out getting customers is a key challenge – no customers, no money, no business. The problems become more difficult as you move up the hierarchy of startup problems. Solving the time problem is more difficult than solving the customer problem and solving the team problem is more difficult than the time problem. As you grow, both the complexity and depth of problems tend to increase.

Customers – Oxygen for your Business

The first major hurdle you will face when launching a business is how you will fund your growth. Perhaps a prescriptive bit of advice, however, rule #1 is “Don’t give up your day job too soon!” There are a lot of excellent resources to help start your business that are beyond the scope of this article, but do leverage the programs that are available to you (SRED and IRAP are worth checking out).

How you grow your business depends a lot on how you are funded and leads to different launch trajectories. For the purpose of this series of posts we will focus on customer funded businesses. IMHO the most reliable source of funding you will have and the one most in your control is by building your business one customer at a time.

Time – Your Most Valuable Resource

So, you’ve got some customers and you’re bringing in revenue. The next major hurdle is finding the time to do all the stuff that needs to get done. Starting most small businesses today is a very knowledge intensive undertaking. From Digital Marketing to business support systems and everything in between there is just so much to learning everything you need to know that it will take you far too long if you do it all yourself.

Time is by far your most valuable resource and once spent you can’t get it back. You are more likely to move forward fastest if you can spend your time on the things you have a natural talent for and excel at. Spend your scarcest resource on the things that create the most value for your business and if you can, outsource everything else. TheCodeFactory is now offering services to help you focus more on your strengths. If you are interested, please check them out.

Team – Your Most Valuable Asset

Perhaps the greatest challenge of all, which only gets more difficult as you grow, is building your team. As you grow the team challenge scales with your business and becomes more difficult. Finding the right people at the right time is crucial to success.

For the purpose of this series of posts we will focus on the Team problem. The outline for the Team Building Series is below:

Introduction (this post)

Founder Considerations (going solo or with partners)

Early employees

Evolution of roles and responsibilities

Next Hurdle – Time